MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo, now serving as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blizzard at Shag Lake

I've restored Shag Cam to it's place of honor in the sidebar, just in time for the near simultaneous arrival of my sister's family and a Yooper blizzard. While we're calling this a blizzard, in the U.P I think they refer to this as a "lake effect snow flurry".


Jeff's walkabout recording of the blizzard is destined to become a family classic. Fun part starts around the five minute mark.

Monday, December 26, 2011

19th Hole

BP 88
MW 103
OM 103

Restaurant was closed for the holidays, but the bar was still serving cold ones. My HTC was out of juice as usual. The bartender salvaged the 19th hole wrap-up shot with this pic from his iPhone.

UPDATE:
The Other Mike (who -unlike your loyal blogger - is a real photographer) also posted some pics from the round on his blog. Some great ones capturing the interesting light as the park transitioned from coastal mist to sunshine...



...as well some action shots of questionable photo-journalistic integrity. He see fit to characterize my "up and down round" but neglects to mention he finished with the same score as my round. Just sayin...

17th Tee and Green

On the tee of the 17th hole (5th hole of the original Alister McKenzie layout), with fairway running along Laguna Salada.

And Bob leaving his birdie putt short on the 17th green.

Hole described in Bo Links article:
"This hole was one of two that MacKenzie modeled after his famous "Lido Hole“ the design entry he submitted in 1914 to Country Life magazine that launched his career. A lakeside hole and one of the most interesting holes on the course, similar to Dr. MacKenzie’s ideal golf hole [a reference to the Lido Design]. Three tees, four routes. Easy route probably will cost at least one extra stroke to get on while the other combinations of tees and routes give rewards proportionate to their respective risks."

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Beer Hole

Playing for the extra beer (Roy's beer) on 15.

Bob puts it on and wins it with a par.

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My Birdie putt on 13...

... misses.

video
Got the par.


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The Other Mike is harassing frogs.

He was careful where he put his feet.

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After the turn...

BP 45
OM 49
MW 51

Still hope to break 100.

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Tenth Hole

The other Mike misses his par on 10 (the original McKenzie 18th finishing hole).

From the Bo Links and Richard Harris article on the course :
"The finishing hole is long and hazardous if not successfully played on both long shots, but the green is wide, open and nicely rolling in order to lend interest to the many thrilling final decisions which will no doubt be made on it. A clump of trees guards the green on the left."


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6th Tee

Number 1 handicap on the course. Striped it 250 yards down the middle of the fairway. Five iron to the middle of the green rolling just off the back. Three putt for the bogey. These things happen.

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Fourth Tee

A very scenic hole

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Live blogging Sharp Park

Boxing Day and the Veto Victory Lap, with Bob and the other Mike.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very EssEff Christmas

For reasons I can't explain, I am compelled to expose myself to the madness that is Union Square once a year.

At least I did not wait until the last minute... you know... tomorrow on Xmas eve.

What would a SF holiday be without protests?

Occupy Oakland is marching around the square.


Not sure what happened to Occupy SF. I suspect they must have joined the other 99% thar are here shopping today.

video


UPDATE: Added pics and clip
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mayor Ed Lee vetoes Avalos ordinance to destroy Sharp Park. Avalos loses. EssEff wins.

Until now, I never really subscribed to the sentiment of this quote, variously attributed to Gore Vidal, David Merrick and/or Larry Ellison...
"It is not enough to win, others must lose."
As the The Golf War in San Francisco drags on, I have developed a much better appreciation for it's finer points.

The Sharp Park golf course was the big winner this week. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee vetoed the ill advised, poorly written, and disingenuously "gamed" ordinance to destroy Sharp Park golf. It was sponsored by city supervisor John Avalos and fast-tracked to a narrow 6-5 vote with the help of board president David Chiu. The veto represents an important and satisfying victory for the people and city of San Francisco, and an equally satisfying defeat for John Avalos.

John is on a bit of a losing streak. He lost his run for mayor. He lost the opportunity to steamroll this ordinance before the new year, and he is about to lose the moonbat majority he has enjoyed in the board of supervisors.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's back up a bit. The week started with our parochial land-use kerfuffle making it to the pages of the New York Times:
In Pacifica, the Angry Golfers vs. the Supervisors and a Back-to-Nature Plan Link"The game is not yet over at the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica. A powerful group of advocates — some of them as old as this historic 79-year-old course overlooking the Pacific — is vowing to keep the links open, despite the San Francisco supervisors’ vote this week to begin a process to transform this 417 acres of oceanfront land into National Park land."
When I saw this article I though it understandable the reporter would take the easy route and superficially cast this as an Environmentalist vs. Golfer issue. It is an easy frame, the article is only a few hundred words, and what else could he do covering a local issue from across the continent? Then I noted that is was actually a reprint of a local article written for the Bay Citizen. That was disappointing, I expect better from a local reporter.

Let's get real. This is San Francisco - the city that bans "Happy Meals" in McDonalds, plastic bags in stores, circumcisions in hospitals, and mandates composting in residential high rise apartments. If it really was a question of environmentalists vs. golfers, it would be no contest. The reality is that this issue is more about "Environmentalists" vs. "Environmentalists". There is a real and substantial difference in opinion between environmental scientists on both sides of this issue. Golfers fortunately can claim one group of environmentalists as allies or the issue would already be decided. This is, after all, San Francisco.

The competing environmental science claims had a hearing in a federal court a few weeks ago which was lost by the WEBLEEDU Axis. The judges finding was consistent with what we've heard before from biologist Karen Swaim. It is important to understand that those who would close the course are losing the environmental science argument.That fact is lost when the discussion is inaccurately framed as Environmentalist vs. Golfer.

The WEBLEEDU Axis has two paths to accomplish their goal of destroying the course - the SF political process and the courts. They've lost one round in the courts and this veto means the window for closing the course via the political process slammed shut for the foreseeable future. With the veto Ed Lee continues the Newsom/Brown tradition of using the mayoral office as the last bastion of what passes for common sense in EssEff, and at least partially restraining the on-going clusterfuck that is our Board of Supervisors.

There will be a new political dynamic in 2012. Ross Mirkarimi moves into his new job as Sheriff in January. Bad for the Sheriff's department, good for the city of San Francisco. He can do less damage as Sheriff than on the Board of Supervisors. Ed Lee will appoint his replacement. Anyone is an improvement. In addition, supervisor Eric "McDonald Happy Meal" Mar, is up for re-election. His vote to kill the course was nothing less than a betrayal of the constituents in his district. By exhibiting more loyalty to Avalos than to his district he is vulnerable. With a concerted effort, he should be a bad political memory by this time next year. The WEBLEEDU's last, best chance to force a political capitulation has evaporated for the foreseeable future.

I'm a little behind the curve on the blog. Lee vetoed the ordinance on Monday and I am just getting around to posting this now. My apologies to the reader. I have been busy running victory laps around the local blogosphere, spiking the ball and getting penalized for excessive celebration in the comment threads. Some local stories and reaction:

San Francisco Chronicle:
Mayor Ed Lee vetoes Sharp Park legislation
"Mayor Ed Lee vetoed legislation today that calls on the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to transfer management of Sharp Park to the federal government, if an agreement can be reached. The parkland property — owned by San Francisco — is located on the San Mateo County coast and used for a public golf course. The goal of the legislation is to restore the land to its natural habitat for inclusion in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."
The Bay Citizen:
Lee Sides with Golfers - Mayor vetoes bill that would have closed golf course at Sharp
“The implicit aim of this legislation — cutting off talks with San Mateo County and envisioning the end of golf operations at Sharp Park — is not a balanced approach,” Lee said in his veto message Monday. “I am returning this legislation with a veto and encouraging the Board of Supervisors to find a balanced approach to Sharp Park.”
Pacifica Patch
Golfers, Enviros Respond to S.F. Mayor's Veto of Sharp Park Ordinance
"Golfers cited the course’s accessibility to high school students, seniors, ethnic minorities and the middle class as reason to keep it operating. “With his veto, the Mayor speaks up for working-class, public recreation, in both San Francisco and San Mateo County, and we thank him for that,” said San Francisco Public Golf Alliance spokeswoman and Sharp Park Women’s Club member Lauren Barr. “The Ordinance would have effectively deprived ethnic minorities, the middle class, seniors, and high school golfers of a treasured and affordable home. Public golf is an important part of the City’s recreational mix, and Sharp Park’s historic course makes the sport accessible to men and women across the ethnic and economic spectrum.”
The full text of the mayor's veto is linked at Pacifica Riptide. Official reaction from the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is linked at Fix Pacifica and the WEBLEEDU response can be found here.

Regarding that last - and in the continuing context of pointing out losers - the WEI press release is particularly interesting. By "interesting" I mean a bilious, bitter, paranoid and dishonest fear-mongering screed. Quite an enjoyable read for the holidays, and worthy of a post of its own. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

17th tee

My beer.

Winning the beer with a par on 15 was my only triumph out there today.

BP - 89
MW - 109

I should be getting some sort of product placement fee for Red Seal Ale.


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15th Tee - the beer hole

We are playing for the extra beer. New rules. Bob must beat me to take the beer. We are both on the green with our tee shots.

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We slowed up around the turn

So Tom joined us to tell urology jokes.

at the turn:

BP 43
MW 55

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Bob approach on 7

About  50 yards behind my drive.

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Not Live blogging Sharp Park

Just Bob and me. Late start and worried about rain, but weather is perfect. With just two won't be doing much blogging, unless - you know - anything happens that must be a blogged.


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nothing says Christmas...

... like a Santa Francisco bar crawl!

video

Walked down to the hardware store, and ran into this...

I would have hung around bit was not appropriately dressed.

Who knew there were so many Santa outfits in our little burg?


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Early Morning Lunar Eclipse

If I wake up in time. And the Weather is clear. And Twin Peaks is not in the way. Then we might see an interesting sight from our terrace. From the Chron:
"Early risers Saturday will see a total eclipse of the moon low in the western sky, and if the Bay Area's clear weather persists, the sight should be spectacular. "The full moon should appear even larger than normal when the eclipse is total because it will be so low in the sky that Earth's atmosphere will magnify it into a blood-red monster," said astronomer Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College in Los Alto Hills. The partial eclipse will begin at 4:45 a.m. and will become total at 6:05 a.m., Fraknoi said. Totality will last until 6:57 a.m.After totality, however, the moon will be setting and too far below the horizon for Bay Area viewers to watch as it emerges from Earth's shadow. "To watch it all as the eclipse becomes total, you'll need a clear view of the moon as it nears the horizon in the west," Fraknoi said. "Even from my house in San Francisco there's a big hill that will block my view, so I have to climb the hill to watch it."
I better get to bed now.

UPDATE:

Got up in time. Weather was clear. Planning left something to be desired.

The eclipse was perfectly visible from our terrace and the moon about half consumed when it dropped behind a neighboring high-rise and stayed there for the balance of the event. I also could not get a decent shot with Sigrid's camera. These shots of the moon are just a blob, but looked in focus through the lens while the moon was visibly half eaten to the naked eye.

Better luck next time. It looks like we'll have a shot at an annular solar eclipse a short drive from here (5-6 hours) next May 20. We'll be ready for that one.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

EssEff Board of Supervisors votes on for Avalos ordinance to destroy Sharp Park and give it away to the Feds

I am back at City Hall to see the vote on the Avalos ordinance to destroy the Sharp Park golf course and give our coastal park land to the Feds. There are 11 supervisors on the board. Six votes are needed to pass. Columnist CW Nevius thinks the votes are there, but it is a meaningless vote, as it will not survive a Mayoral veto or a court challenge.

Still, in the years I have been following this clusterfork, this is the first time I recall that the full board has voted directly on the issue at hand. I understand there will be no public comment, but wanted to see an actual vote, meaningful or not. So I'm back in City Hall to watch it happen.

Listening to Avalos now, he is softening the language considerably with an amendment. This is apparently intended to solve the EIR legal issue.

Now David Chiu is offering another Amendment to further soften the language.

Both are saying that now this ordinance is only assuring that all options are being explored - including destroying the course and giving it away to the feds. Sean Elsbernd calls bullshit. He says these amendments are eyewash - meant to disguise the real purpose of the ordinance. I trust Elsbernd, but it looks like Chiu has the votes lined up.

The Supe roster is cued up for the ayes and nays:

Nevius was right. It passed 6-5

Not sure if I got the votes exactly right - will correct later if I missed it [CORRECTED]:

AYE - John Avalos District 11 John.Avalos@sfgov.org
AYE - David Campos District 9 David.Campos@sfgov.org
AYE - David Chiu District 3 David.Chiu@sfgov.org
NO - Carmen Chu District 4 Carmen.Chu@sfgov.org
NO - Malia Cohen District 10 Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org
NO - Sean Elsbernd District 7 Sean.Elsbernd@sfgov.org
NO - Mark Farrell District 2 Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org
AYE - Jane Kim District 6 Jane.Kim@sfgov.org
AYE - Eric Mar District 1 Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org
AYE - Ross Mirkarimi District 5 Ross.Mirkarimi@sfgov.org
NO - Scott Wiener District 8 Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org

Like I've said before. No one who casts a vote to give away this park deserves to serve in any public capacity in the City. But, it is axiomatic we get the government we deserve. We elect them, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

It is a 6-5 vote. One vote changes the outcome. Mirkarimi will be off the board in the new year. That is a very good thing. He can do less damage as Sheriff than what he can do on the Board. Eric Mar is up for reelection and vulnerable. He is out of step with his district and constituency. A concerted effort and he'll be off the board this time next year.

My understanding is that this was a vote on "First Reading." It must be submitted to another vote, probably next week, for the ordinance to pass. The language of the ordinance cannot change between first and final, or the process starts over. The way they threw last minute changes at this, it's possible that a detailed reading will find a flaw that will push this into next year with Mirkarimi off the board. If that does not happen a veto by Mayor Ed Lee is the next best hope. There are not enough votes on the board to overcome a Lee veto.

Nevius was right about the board vote. Hopefully he is also right about a Lee veto.

On to the next round.

UPDATE:

Corrected typos, fixed the vote count, added thoughts and links.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

John Avalos Games the Avalos Chaired "City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee" hearing on the Avalos "Destroy Sharp Park" Ordinance

The game continues. I am at the open public hearing on the John Avalos ordinance to give Sharp Park to the feds and destroy the course. Mostly this is more of the same specious arguments we have been hearing from the WEBLEEDU Axis over the last 3 years.

The Sharp Park ordinance was item 8 on the agenda, which meant I had to hang out for over 5 hours to see it through to the end. Jon Avalos chairs this committee and tried to arrange it to minimize the participation of those that support the course. That included scheduling the Sharp Park item for the end, and placing one of those useless "Only in EssEff" resolutions immediately before Sharp Park was considered - this an Avalos sponsored resolution to End the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and return all moneys spent on the war to San Francisco Social Programs. At least I think that was the resolution, because it sure seemed all the dozens of public supporters commenting thought that was what was going to happen to Department of Defense monies if our Supervisors pass this resolution. I saw a number of the Sharp Park golf supporters eyes glaze over during this agenda item and leave saying they had to get back to their jobs.

The one new element coming out of this hearing was learning the extent to which Jon Avalos and his supporters have tried to disguise and obfuscate the real purpose of his ordinance and bypass the Environmental Impact Statement that should be required for a vote on any action of this scope. In their rush to get a vote in front of the Supervisors to destroy the course, the WEBLEEDU Axis are twisting themselves into knots to avoid the required environmental impact regulations. You read that right - these "environmentalists" are trying to avoid a legally required Environmental Impact Statement. It is really unconscionable.

There was a classic exchange between Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Avalos before public comment began that set the tone. Ellsbernd tried to get Avalos to come clean about the reason for his parliamentary machinations and legal sophistry pushing this ordinance to a vote now. Avalos was really squirming. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Okay it was funny anyway. When they get the video posted on SF GOV, I'll excerpt it here.

This begs the question - Why the panic to get this voted on now? Apparently the vote will take place tomorrow December 6 at 2ish. This is "warp speed" for a San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote. Then it struck me. This is likely to be a very close vote. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will be Sheriff in January opening up his Supervisor seat. Mayor Ed Lee will appoint a replacement to finish his term. That will be a lost vote on the Board of Supervisors for the WEBLEEDU Axis. Moreover, Supervisor Eric Mar is up for re-election in District 1. He has a lot of Sharp Park golfers in his district. They would not be happy if Eric Mar votes for this ordinance to destroy Sharp Park. However, Eric Mar has shown a distinct tendency to show more loyalty to John Avalos than to his own constituents. He either votes against, or he loses his seat. All this points to one conclusion - it is now or never for this vote. This is the very last chance to get a political victory for the WEBLEEDU's, who are in the midst of a three year losing streak.

More later...
LinkUPDATE:
Camden Swita at Pacifica Patch does a nice job covering the hearing. I know it is quality work because he actually quotes me in the piece:
"U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled that the frog population had actually increased in the area in the past 20 years, and that there has only been one confirmed case of a snake killed on the course six years ago.

Some of the speakers who attended today's committee hearing in opposition to the proposal cited the judge's ruling and said the environmental impacts of the golf course are overblown.

Others, including Mike Wallach, a San Francisco resident of 25 years, said the course is a historical resource that must be maintained. The course was designed by Alister MacKenzie, who has also designed several world-famous courses, including Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

"Sharp Park is a gift to the people of San Francisco," Wallach said. "It's a historic landmark by any standard, and doesn't belong to the Board of Supervisors, it belongs to the people."

Several other speakers cited it as one of the few cheap, full-sized golf courses in the area, referring to it by its nickname, "the poor man's Pebble Beach."

Along with opposing viewpoints among the speakers, things got chippy during the hearing between Avalos and fellow committee member Sean Elsbernd, who opposes the plan.

Elsbernd accused Avalos of "gamesmanship" by only calling up supporters of the proposal in the first dozen or so speakers."

I always have a tough time in this kind of hearing trying to say what I want to say in the allotted two minutes. So I'll just use this space to replay my comments and amplify on what I intended to say:

"Sharp Park does not belong to the Board of Supervisors and Sharp Park is not a political chip to be disposed of by an ambitious board supervisor.

As a practical matter, common sense informs us that giving away 400 acres of beautiful and valuable coastal park land that belongs to the people of San Francisco is not in the interest of the people of San Francisco.

A vote to give away this historic landmark legacy of the people of San Francisco is nothing less than a betrayal of our City and the past, present, and future citizens who live here. "

Yeah - that's what I wanted to say.

END UPDATE

The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance announcement provided additional context details on the meeting:
=================
Urgent! Attend Public Hearing Monday, Dec. 5, 10 A.M., S.F. City Hall, RM. 250: Oppose Avalos Ordinance To Close Sharp Park

The long-threatened public hearing on Supervisor Avalos' Close-Sharp Park Golf Course Ordinance, is scheduled for public hearing Monday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. in Room 250, S.F. City Hall, before the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee. (Room 250 is the big legislative chamber at top of the grand staircase).

The Avalos Ordinance would direct the Rec & Park Dept. to offer to close Sharp Park Golf Course and enter exclusive negotiations with the GGNRA to take over Sharp Park. The GGNRA has already announced it will not operate a golf course at Sharp.

NOW is the time for golfers and their friends and families to come to the aid of affordable public golf and the legacy of Alister MacKenzie at Sharp Park.

Bring your friends, family, and foursomes. Be early.

If you plan to attend, PLEASE RSVP via Email by clicking here. Please include your name and phone number.

Spread the word!

Save Sharp Park!!

RSVP: info@sfpublicgolf.com
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

19th hole

Bob 89
Todd 92
Mike 104
Anonymous* 118

By request, this golfer's name will not be revealed in this post.


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Traditional 17th Portrait

Possibly the worst single example in the long history of 17th Hole Portraits on this blog.


This one makes up for it. By request from the newbie.


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Link

Moment of impact

On the 15th tee.

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Falling behind on the blog

Somewhere after the turn. Yes, that Asahi beer is as big as it looks.

Todd 43
Bob 44
Mike 50
Roy 64

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Par 3 8th hole

Roy on the tee.

Todd in the trap.

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Todd is a Lincoln Park virgin

Here he tees off for the first time under the watchful gaze of the golf gods on the 6th.

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5Th Green

With the Bridge as backdrop

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Bob tees off on 4

After he and Todd parred #3.

Todd chipped it in for his par.

Not to be outdone, I got two pars on 3.


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Roy tees off on two

...after a less than stellar opening hole.

I won't say what he shot on one.

Okay - It was a 10.


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